Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Scintilla Project - Bonus Day 2

What is it that you're sure you'll never forget about being this age, or an age of your choice?

I've never been one to remember exact years or even exact ages, unlike my ex-husband who could tell me exact years and sometimes dates of certain events. Oh I remember some milestones -- date and year and place, if applicable -- and usually they are dates I'd prefer I did not remember.

This year I am 64, and I'm sure I will not forget it: it began uneventfully enough in November, but just after Christmas I was put on a heart monitor for a month and we discovered that I have atrial fibrillation, certainly not untreatable but nevertheless frightening.

And then my beloved husband retired from work near the end of February -- after being in corporate life since 1968. We'd been planning and talking about this day for literally years, and it had been delayed more than once in the last year because of situations at his workplace.

 He'd gotten his own smack-upside-the-head moment shortly after I'd gotten news about the afib: he has type 2 diabetes. (He's written about it in his own blog, Cat-E-Whompus. Triple whammy here: both of us with health issues, and retirement -- the latter certainly anticipated and welcomed, but an event which ranks right up there on the stress level with marriage, death, and childbirth.

Early in March, I was finally getting used to the afib meds, adjusting as blood testing deemed necessary, and beginning to feel more like I could resume a 'normal' life. He was getting used to his new meds and we'd adjusted our diet somewhat both to lose weight and for his diabetes. We planned a quick ocean getaway.

And then on March 5, I was gobsmacked with what we think was a kidney stone: a thoroughly unpleasant experience that reinforced the feeling of how quickly life can change. And Tony got the green crud infection that has taken so many people out for weeks, feeling sick and weak and coughing up crud.

Four months since we turned 64, and all of a sudden we both are feeling fragile and old, vulnerable, unsure of how much I dare do, how far we dare travel, and wondering what is next.

I want a do-over.

Slowly I'm coming back to the place where I feel good, that life is resuming its more predictable pace. Tony is nearly over the cough and is feeling much better. We've both lost weight, a good thing. My meds are working, and as I've talked a bit more about the afib, I'm discovering how many people have it and continue to work and play and just 'carry on.' And many others know first-hand about kidney stones. I am not the first person to face these challenges, and I'm learning from others how to do it.

So there are two choices here: I can slow my life and activities down in fear of illness and stay close to home and doctors, or I can do all I can with medication and sensible management and do the things we want to do in retirement. At 64, I'm choosing the latter. But this is a year I'll never forget. And I hope it gets better than it has started.

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